NMG@PRAKTIKA_Stela Mikulin: The Poetics of Place

Stela Mikulin – The Poetics of Place

Klub Kocka Gallery, Youth Center Split, Ulica slobode 28

OPENING: Thursday, June 13th 2024 at 8pm

The exhibit is open every work day untill June 20th from 7 to 9 pm.

The spatial installation The Poetics of Place by Stela Mikulin represents a multimedia synthesis of visual and textual records. Additionally, The Poetics of Place is an artistic exploration in which the artist examines the concept of space and home. Her previous work can be regarded as continuous artistic research, preoccupied with themes such as identity formation, heritage, urban memory, personal memory, and reminiscence. Through questioning the concept of home, she considers how we carry our homes with us and leave traces in various spaces. Therefore, this work is attempting to answer the following questions: How do we form identity through the places we inhabit, and how do these places shape our consciousness and memories? How do we transfer the feeling of home to other places? How do these places affect us and leave an imprint on our memories?

According to Gaston Bachelard, spaces are shaped by the interaction between the external environment and the internal world of a person, their consciousness. Our experiences of space are not purely objective; they are intimate and deeply intertwined with subjective impressions and emotions. Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space[1] explores space as a repository of our memories and thoughts, treating it not as a passive entity but as a living tissue that evokes emotional reactions or mental associations, ultimately shaping our identity and our sense of self. Space is not just an external reality but also an internal experience. But how does space become more than just a place, a physical environment where we live or work?

By collaging various contents through video works, Mikulin explores a personal relationship with space and how we create a home in different places. Everyday places that we pass through unconsciously are filled with our thoughts, personal symbolic and emotional dimensions that shape our perception and understanding of space. By sequencing static frames of fields, along with a dialogue in which the artist interprets the flow of thoughts we often experience during walks, when we ask and answer questions to ourselves, the connection between space and individual consciousness is depicted. Short scenes from nature walks collaged with painted motifs document lasting impressions of the moment, and their immateriality is alluded to by the fragmentation of the image at the frame edges. Moments are shown when we create new experiences, when a place becomes a specific space for us, when we become attached to it and make it a home. Walking, as an important element of this work, emphasizes the processual nature of the work and represents the main means of interaction and appropriation of space. Text cards with snippets of the artist’s thoughts and impressions, with their open form, encourage the observer to wander and create space. Finally, by incorporating objects from the open inventory of the Youth Center, emphasizing the collaging process and thus completing this spatial installation, the relationship between physical and mental spaces is materialized, those real places we pass through, and the immateriality of thoughts.

Stela Mikulin’s The Poetics of Place explores the deep emotional bonds we share with space. It shows how space becomes more than just a physical environment, becoming a place where our inner journeys and transformations take place. This spatial installation allows for the exploration of one’s connection with space and home, revealing new dimensions of our everyday experiences and memories.

Jelena Šimundić Bendić

[1] In 1958, Bachelard published La Poétique de l’Espace – The Poetics of Space – a densely lyrical, almost magical book on our experience of architecture.

Stela Mikulin (b. 1996) graduated in 2021 from the Department of Art Education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, under the mentorship of Assoc. Prof. Art. Gordana Bakić. Since 2018, she has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions and participated in several workshops and projects (Poetika mjesta, Galerija Događanja, Zagreb, 2023; Archive of the Absent, Galerija Loggia, HULU Split, 2023; You Can’t Discourse Without Disco, Galerija Nova, Zagreb, 2022; Eksperimentalni autoportret, Galerija VN, Zagreb, 2022; Matrice: Informacije, Galerija SC, Zagreb, 2022; nulta točka: Idealno mjesto, Grožnjan, 2021; Gornji Stenjevec – narativi mjesta (Gajnice Laboratory), online, 2021; Archive of the Absent, Galerija Šira, Zagreb, 2021; GRISIA Youth 2021, Rovinj; Vrt i ostale beštije, Garaža Kamba, Zagreb, 2018, etc.). She was one of the participants of the fourth generation of the WHW Academy in 2022. In her work, she addresses issues of home, heritage, reminiscence, and identity formation, which she explores through the elements of space and time.

CURATOR: Jelena Šimundić Bendić
NMG CURATORIAL TEAM: Natasha Kadin, Vedran Perkov, Jelena Šimundić Bendić
DESIGN: Nikola Križanac
TRANSLATION: Katarina Duplančić
SETUP: Stela Mikulin, Jelena Šimundić Bendić
DONORS: Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, City of Split
MAVENA SUPPORTED BY: Zaklada Kultura nova